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Us 10, U.s. 8, Nbc 7, Egypt 7, United States 7, Florida 6, John F. Kennedy 6, Libya 6, Virginia 5, Chuck Todd 5, America 5, Romney 4, Alex Witt 4, Steve Klein 4, Gay 3, Alex 3, Ryan 3, Obama 3, New York City 3, Cairo 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    September 15, 2012
    7:00 - 7:59am EDT  

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say he wanother one of presiden obama's secret gay boyfriends. why would anyone leave west hollywood to work at the white house. gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. world net daily says so. now the president is going to have to unveil his straight certificate. the long form one. i love these people. weekend's with alex witt starts now. the man behind the anti-muslim film that has sparked worldwide protests is being questioned by police today. in yet another twist in the ongoing saga. this has protests against americans spread to countries beyond the arab world. the latest from the region in live reports. new swing state polls, nbc's chuck todd joins me with results that give us a much clearer picture of what will happen in november. the latest line on undecided voters might surprise you. the iphone 5. could the latest apple product break new ground? and it's already setting sales records. that much we know. good morning, everyone. welcome to weekends with alex
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witt. let's get to what's happening right now out there. we have some new developments overnight in the film that sparked rage around the world. investigators are now questioning the man who is suspected of producing that controversial video. early this morning sheriff's deputy removed nakoula basseley nakoula from his california home. police say they're assisting federal probation officers but they're not calling it an arrest. >> he came along willingly. he was cooperative. absolutely no incident. he was very helpful to our deputy sheriffs. this whole situation is -- it seems to be coming to a peaceful and that's what all the sheriff's department wants. is to maintain public safety and that's what we've done. >> and the wave of unrest has spread beyond the arab world. in sydney, australia, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside a building housing the u.s. consulate. they did not gain access to the building though.
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in all the demonstrations stretched from the pacific rim to the atlantic ocean. and joining me now is colonel jack jacobs, congressional medal of honor recipient and our msnbc military analyst. he's here in studio with me. let's talk about first of all what happened. the libya attacks in benghazi. there are suggestions that these were well-coordinated attacks as opposed that which first was reported that it was just a mob attack. what's the intel on that? >> it is -- it was hastily planned but it was planned, nonetheless. all the evidence points to that. small arms, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, wielded by soldiers who were properly trained in what looked like a tactical attack. so it was planned. i think the consulate was a target of opportunity. there's no doubt about it. >> so was it well defended? >> well, it wasn't defended at all. which is -- and the state department has a great deal to answer for. there's no reason why, in a place like libya, that hasn't finished with a violent
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revolution, where a consulate that's relatively isolated should not be -- should not be defended at all. no, that's -- there's going to be an investigation. there's going to be a lot of finger pointing. but the state department has a lot to answer for in that regard. >> well, indeed, there's also a response that has to come. tell me what the appropriate response is from the united states when they have killed the highest official, the person who represents our country, in that country? >> well, without some intelligence, the united states has no idea who it is. i am told that the libyan government, such as it is, has promised the white house that it will assist in gathering the intelligence necessary to identify these people. but whether they will, or they won't, whether they can or they can't is something else again. remember that the government of libya has a domestic support among other people, radical islamists and other crazies and it's going to be extremely
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difficult for them to cooperate too much with the united states because they're on shaky ground. >> are we leaving everything up to the libyan government to search? i mean, you would think -- >> no. i mean we have the capability of using overhead assets, satellites -- >> drones? >> and some intelligence on the ground, too. but we are not very well situated in libya to try and get human intelligence, and at the end of the day, it's human intelligence that really drives the effort to find people. you can use drones and all that stuff. but unless you're -- unless you know where to look, you're not going to be able to find them. and you can only find out where to look if you have intelligence on the ground. that's going to require the cooperation of the libyan government. which we may not get. >> with respect to this anti-muslim film, when you look at it on the face of it, can you believe the unrest that has happened, now globally? >> you know, one answer is yes, i can. what you really can't believe is
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how we are surprised -- not you and i, but how the american government is surprised. think about what's happened over the last four decades we've supported blood thirsty despots in a wide variety of muslim countries. then, in the space of a very short time, less than a year, we decide now we're going to support their violent overthrow. and then we're shocked that after the violent overthrow these people we've supported, there is an instantaneously a republican form of democracy, and that there's chaos in all these countries. well, to a greater or lesser extent we've contributed to it by our policies, by the fact that we changed policies. by the ft that we haven't -- we didn't over a period of four decades try to encourage peaceful political change. i think our politicians and our leadership on both sides of the aisle are nuts when they think that you can go from mubarak, or gadhafi, which is a much better
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example, to a -- to a peaceful, democratic country. we're out of our minds. and we've contributed to it, because of the policies of four decades. >> colonel jack jacobs, certainly back here for discussion. promise you we will have it. so do you blame the filmmaker for the global outbreaks of violence? you can talk to me on twitter my handle is @alex witt. i'm going to read some of your tweets throughout the day. meanwhile, funerals for the four americans killed in the libya attack are being arranged by their families. though their bodies were returned to the u.s. friday. president obama made remarks about the four americans at an andrews air force base ceremony. >> their sacrifice will never be forgotten. we will bring to justice those who took them from us. >> on the campaign trail, mitt romney tempered his remarks, criticizing the president, while also observing the moment of silence for the four americans. this as the republican ticket continues to calibrate its message on the middle east.
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nbc's ron mott is with congressman paul ryan and he's joining us from roanoke, virginia, with more. part of a state you're going to be doing a lot of time in, no doubt. ron, good morning. >> hey, there, alex. good saturday morning to you. although this has not been the best week for the romney campaign, and a lot of it stemming from a statement he sent out on tuesday night when these attacks were just known here in the states, critical of the obama administration's handling of that crisis. problem for the campaign is that the extent of the violence there was not fully known at the time, and the statement was actually released by the embassy to try to quell that protest before it turned violent. now mitt romney has been criticized by democrats and the president who came out the next day that he has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. mitt romney has been on the defensive since then. he softened his stance a little bit yesterday in an interview on national television where he said that the statement itself was not appropriate. he said he agrees with the white house that it was not an appropriate statement to be made. that was not the only disappointing news that the campaign got this week. latest polling here by nbc news
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and "the wall street journal" shows that the governor is falling further behind the president in three key swing states that may ultimately decide this election. here in the commonwealth of virginia, up in ohio, and down in florida. so yesterday, of course, governor romney was in ohio. congressman ryan was here in virginia. and then in just a little bit, alex, we're going to jump on this plane behind us and head down to florida where he's got a rally planned, congressman ryan does, in the tampa-saint pete area. they want to get back on message talking about the economy. that is their biggest weapon against the president at this moment. >> i just want to ask you quickly about the tenor of things as you're following representative ryan. there's a "new york times" headline today and it reads while ryan throws hardballs romney makes friends on morning tv. the implication being that paul ryan, he's getting out there and he's doing some really hard work. and it's not necessarily about personality development there. he's just hitting all the issues tough. do you get that sense that that's sort of the m.o., that's what he's been charged with doing? >> traditionally that's the role for the vice presidential
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candidate. is to go out and swing a big bat at the incumbents. and that's what ball ryan is doing. yesterday he had some sharp words for the president's foreign policy as well as his domestic policy and he says that job number one in a romney administration will be to get those 23 million americans out of work or underemployed back to work and gainful employment. so they believe that is the message that is ultimately going to resonate with voters on election day. the fact that there have been 43 months straight of unemployment above 8%. and they, again, they want to continue to hit the president on that front and try to perhaps move beyond this foreign policy issue that was created this week with mr. romney's statement on tuesday night. >> all right. nbc's ron mott there in roanoke. safe travels. coming up, chuck todd, nbc's political director and host of msnbc's "the daily rundown." we're going to ask him about the latest swing state polls in the presidential race, including the shrinking number of undecided voters. that's coming up at the bottom of the hour. two u.s. marines were killed, and several others injured during a militant attack on a base housing england's
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prince harry. the strike happened at camp bastion in soump afghanistan. insurgents breached a wall, firing off mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. a spokesperson says prince harry was never in any danger. earlier this week the taliban said they were planning to do everything in their power to either kill or kidnap the prince. investigators are working to find the people who made false bomb threats at four different schools. first up at the university of texas austin. a man claiming to be with al qaeda said that he had placed bombs on the campus but nothing dangerous turned up during a security sweep. then north dakota state university in fargo got a call about a bomb threat on their campus. that also ended as a false alarm. hours later in ohio, the school received a bomb threat through e-mail. that campus was given the all-clear and then a threat written in graffiti at valparaiso university claimed dangerous and criminal activity would occur but no weapons were found. it is time now for your saturday forecast. we're going to give you a live look outside here in new york city.
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as we bring in weather channel meteorologist todd santos who is here with the very latest. good morning to you, todd. or maybe not looking at new york city outside. it was very pretty this important. >> it was great this morning out there, alex. it is kind of capping off a pretty epic week for many of us. the cool temperatures in the morning, beautiful in the afternoon. there's a look at the skies over new york where if you were up early this morning, just before sun rise. there were light showers that made their way through. now sunshine through the rest of the day. may have some gusty winds out of the north to northwest. last check at jfk airport there was a gust to 22 miles per hour. we are on the dry side. you see the way some of the showers have thinned out as they've made their way on towards the east, boston, bangor, maybe a few light showers. patches of drizzle with improvement later on today with the winds picking up behind the frontal boundary that's outlined by some of the showers. once you get into the southeast, very similar setup to the last couple of days. florida, at least a few of the showers, east coast, west palm beach towards just about south beach, may see a chance for some more of those as you work your
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way through the afternoon, get a little daytime heating in, that may increase some of the coverage across florida. you see showers back towards the ozarks, southwestern missouri as well. springfield areas, in and around springfield extending up 44 there. st. louis likely to remain on the dry side, jonesboro, little rock, showers on and off throughout the daytime today. not really heavy rain potential. maybe isolated thunderstorms in there. once you look at the whole map across the country, you get the idea, pretty quiet for many of us, some cool temperatures towards the great lakes and a pretty decent day for many of us. >> it's a lot nicer since i came in. the so-called fiscal cliff. n numbers today on how automatic budget cuts could affect july. and why president obama is still leading in the polls despite the economy. unique insight from a political expert. i have a cold, and i took nyquil,
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as the so-called fiscal cliff approaches there are new numbers to reflect how massive the automatic budget cuts could be if congress does not act before the beginning of the year, most defense programs facing 9.4% cuts while most domestic programs face cuts of about 8.2%. joining me now, congressional reporter for "the washington post," ed o'keefe and white house correspondent for the
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hill, amy parnce who is in studio. ed, how come you didn't hop a plane to come up here? >> because my parents are visiting town. >> good excuse. i'm glad about that. >> so there it is. >> parents weekend here. >> so ed first up to you, because you write that the house of representatives is not meeting in october. obviously they're going to have to tackle this after the election. will that happen? >> it's got to happen. you know, the way white house -- the white house and congress are acting these days when it comes to the fiscal cliff, it's kind of like the couple that had to buy a bad car because they needed a ride to work, and at the end of the year the car's turn nothing a lemon. that's basically this agreement. neither side of the couple wanted to buy the car, in this case, white house and congress agreed to a deal last year that cuts $1.2 trillion in spending in the next ten years. neither side likes this idea but the whole idea of agreeing to it was that they would come up with something new before january 2nd when all these cuts start. problem is they haven't done that yet. when they get back from the election on november 13th, they'll only have precious few
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weeks to sort out all sorts of things. the budget cuts that take effect at the beginning of the year, tax cuts that are set to expire. a new budget and a host of other spending and tax issues. really quite a lot of things that they're going to have to deal with. and the reason they want to wait is they want to see who wins the white house. because then congress will know who they have to work with into the new year. >> okay. so there's that. so, give me your thought on whether this will be accomplished by january 2nd. because how much does the post-election tenor of things change? >> it does change a little bit. but you saw jay carney the white house press secretary say this was supposed to happen. both sides sort of wanted this agreement. we want both sides to work it out and hammer it out. it's not like it's just going to be defense cuts, this is how it's going to be. so i think you're going to see both sides come together last minute at the 11th hour, always. that's the way washington works. >> yeah, right. hey, ed, if these cuts do go into effect, is there immediate impact? on the everyday lives of americans? >> absolutely.
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everything but medicaid, medicare, food stamps and military pay is on the docket for possible cuts. you could see fewer fbi agents. you could see, you know, trimmed services for military families on military bases. you might have issues with scientific research that's paid for by the government. fewer food inspectors. fewer air traffic controllers. so it covers the gamut across the government. we cannot talk enough about these effects. because the more it gets talked about the more congress is going to realize that it has to work with the white house to sort this out. >> we're going to switch gears and stay with you ed as we turn to foreign policy, the handling of the middle east. the romney camp was widely criticized this week for the reaction to the incident in libya. give me the overall takeaway on how the governor handled it? >> i think if you talk to republican strategists who track this you'd certainly talk to the obama campaign and they'll say they bungled this. at the end of the week it's still not exactly clear what mitt romney thinks and what he would have done. certainly while he was sitting on this plane flying to florida on that tuesday thiet when this happened, they put out that
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statement without knowing everything. that's kind of the first cardinal rule that they broke. in that they didn't have all the information. but as the president said, shot first and then thought about it later. i think that's a -- an accusation that's certainly going to stick. you saw him then begin to roll back his arguments against the president yesterday in a series of interviews saying i agree with the president that egypt isn't necessarily an ally and i agree with the president that what was said by the embassy in cairo wasn't necessarily the correct thing to say. so at the end of the week you're like, where does he stand on these issues? and i think the more this gets talked about the more it helps the president. because if you look at the polling, the president has a very wide lead over mitt romney when it comes to foreign policy and national security. and that is a big gap that romney will have to close. >> do you get a sense aimee that the white house thinks this could become a political problem in the few short weeks leading up to the election? you remind us of something like jimmy carter and what happened right at the end of the campaign season, you know, before his election. >> i think that's in the back of their minds. they're playing it very safe
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right now. i was out on the road with him this week and you didn't see him do many otrs, as we call them, off the record. you saw him sort of do his campaign. they're playing it very safe right now. i think safe is the key word in the obama camp. >> okay and if we look at the latest daily gallup tracking poll it shows the president leading mitt romney by six points. the president has built an edge a little bit in some of the key swing states there. is there any concern about overconfidence within the obama campaign, because there is that old adage that whomever is leading in the middle of september, traditionally usually will go on to win the election? >> yeah, i think you see that when i talk to senior advisers, say they we're really happy with the bump but they think it is a post-convention bump. they are a little cautious. but one adviser told me we'd rather be where we are than where they are. >> that's a good point. >> just real quick. i think the reason we're seeing this is because remember you asked us before we went to tampa and charlotte what does mitt romney have to do in order to close the gap. he's got to explain what it is
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he wants to do as president. did he do that? the polling suggests he didn't. and that's why the president's still in the lead. >> thank you for that. good to see you. lots of fun. the sales on fire for the iphone 5. why is there such a frenzy? in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at devry.edu/knowhow. ♪ throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health.
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[ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. now to our big money headlines. a rescue from the federal reserve? consumer prices climb. and is the iphone 5 worth the wait? well, joining me now economy analyst. good morning. great to see you. >> good morning, alex. from sunny, well actually dark los angeles right now. >> i was going to say you are up early girlfriend. let's start with the fed. they launched another aggressive stimulus program. they're pumping billions into the economy. why are they doing this? >> well, the fed is actually pumping, as you said, billions into the economy. they're buying about $600 billion worth of bonds. and the reason why they're doing
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that is that they're trying to drive down those borrowing costs. and basically this is part of a new stimulus package program that they've had in the past. kwechlt one qe-2 and this is quantitative easing 3. as i would say take three. what they're trying to do is drive down those borrowing costs but also trying to get that unemployment rate down to about 7%. they're not going to ease up on this quantitative easing until that rate is down at that level. >> okay. how about consumer prices now, we saw the highest jump in three years. retail sales rising about 1%. that is the largest increase since february. what accounts for this? the rising consumer inflation? >> right. well alex we've been talking about this pretty much all summer and it's rising gas prices. that's what's driving up the price of consumer goods, especially, you know, in terms of retail. what is also driving up those prices is food prices. and we were talking about this, again, last summer around june we were talking about the
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drought. those corn prices, soybean prices were going up and what is really going to be affected is, as we move towards december, those food prices are going to skyrocket. so we're probably going to see those consumer prices and retail sales rise even more as we get towards december. >> okay. the new iphone 5. apple's already sold out of the first batch. why is this causing such the fren frenzy? >> well, alex, apple has this knack for creating frenzy amongst their loyal customers. and i think this new iphone is going to be even skinnier, it's going to have a retina display. people are really excited about this. you can take even fancier pictures than you can take with the 4s which i currently have and i have to advocate that it does take great pictures. i think really apple is just creating this frenzy because people are so loyal and there was this pentup demand. they haven't had a new iphone come out in a very long time and they're expecting about 33 million iphones to be sold. in the next quarter. and that really accounts for a lot of their revenue. >> you can kind of imagine.
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sure does. all right good to see you. thank you so much and go back to sleep if you can. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> our one-minute playback is back from the way back. new reaction from former michigan governor jennifer granholm after video surfaced from when she was on the dating game in 1978. >> hails from british columbia. -- beauty queen, working in the public relations field, the arts, and the great outdoors. let's have a big hand for the cute and vivacious jennifer granholm. >> this is great. well granholm begged for forgiveness about the hair on twitter. she tweeted i was a teenager in the '70s. my hair could have been a nest for an entire family of birds.
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my name is adam frucci and i'm the i love new technology,om. so when i heard that american express and twitter were teaming up, i was pretty interested. turns out you just sync your american express card securely to your twitter account, tweet specific hashtags, and you'll get offers on things you love. this totally changes the way i think about membership. saving money on the things you want. to me, that's the membership effect. nice boots! welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we begin this half hour with the big overnight developments in the anti-muslim video fallout. the filmmaker is now at a
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california police station. overnight l.a. sheriff's deputies removed nakoula basseley nakoula from his home. he is now talking with federal officers investigating a possible parole violation. mike taibbi has been following this angle. he's live in los angeles with the very latest. good morning to you, mike. what do you know about this? >> good morning, alex. this is not the man behind the video. it's not a film. it's a video. it's a 14-minute video. he's one of three men who is behind it and perhaps the least important. he has said to the associated press that he was only responsible for the logistics when the film was put together last summer. the summer of 2011. the people more responsible for the actual content, which has proven so toxic, are another fellow egyptian coptic christian, as this person is, nakoula is also an egyptian corn coptic christian, ultraconservative. this is joseph assuala who has been at anti-us lame ground zero mosque protests that you've seen in new york city. i was at the one two years ago when he was one of the featured speakers and also steve klein, a
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local insurance man who has written and railed about islam for years, and some of the same language and exploring some of the same themes that appeared in the actual dialogue that was dubbed over that made that video so toxic when it went viral. free speech, free speech. this man nakoula was not arrested because of his role in the film. only because he might have uploaded, and therefore as you said, violated his probation. but free speech has consequences, as has been seen so many times over the years. you can't yell fire in a crowded theater and these three men allegedly yelled fire in a very crowded theater. the theater of the internet, that had over a billion muslims worldwide and we've seen the consequences of that around the world. the two other men nasrala and steve klein are hiding at this moment. this man is only speaking to the sheriff's department and he's doing so voluntarily to see if there's been a probation violation for his bank fraud conviction. >> how legitimate are the threats on their lives? >> well you have to assume that some of the threats are
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legitimate. steve klein told a local reporter the other day as he drove away from the studio where the video was made that he just had to get out that he's had believable death threats. one assumes that the threats are serious. i don't know materially how close in danger they might have been. but i went to the home of joseph nasrallah yesterday, he wasn't there and hasn't been seen as steve klein jumped in his truck the other day and drove off and hasn't been seen or heard from since. >> many thanks for the update. we appreciate it. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel spoke with a group of protesters in egypt and asked them why the clashes there are continuing, even though u.s. officials have criticized the anti-muslim video. >> that the response from the united states was late? >> obama, all your government, it was very late. >> so all of this is because the response was late? but there was little time for interviews. we should turn around here. the police are charging.
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>> you see what happened? the egyptian government is doing with the egyptian people because? because of the americans. >> well, the egyptian president has appeared on television to urge calm. joining me now with more on the political fallout of the worldwide protests, as well as the latest presidential polls is chuck todd, nbc's political director, chief white house correspondent and most of msnbc's "the daily rundown." hi, chalk. good morning. good to see you. >> good morning. >> let's talk about all these protests. how are they playing out politically for president obama and mitt romney? >> well, look, i think it's a tough position for the president right now. i mean, this is a president, if you recall, when he was candidate obama, you know, that talked about repairing relations with the muslim world. four years later, 52 days before voters decide whether to give him another four years, u.s. embassies are being attacked in a lot of muslim capitals. so, i think there's a lot of potential political danger here for the president. and questions about the
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management of the arab spring, and things like that. i think right now the romney campaign regrets a couple of things. number one, that they somehow made themselves the focus by doing -- by sort of violating an unwritten code among -- in a presidential race in sort of criticizing in the middle of a crisis, while you had u.s. diplomats in danger, and at the time, as we found out, dying during one of these attacks. and i think it put him in a rough place for the rest of the week. >> a little bit of rough, as well with the president having said that egypt is no longer an american ally. i mean not an enemy, but not an ally. >> well, look, i mean this is the political problem that i think the state department, no matter who runs it over the next year, whether it's an obama administration or a romney administration, there is going to be -- it's going to be rough political waters to convince a u.s. congress to continue to give foreign aid to egypt. the president, i think, was
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answering that question honestly to our friend jose diaz-balart, and then the diplomatic community worried that it was going to scare off egypt, and there was this, you know, 24-hour walk-back about, no, no, no, they're still an ally, they're still an ally. on paper they're still an ally. but i think when you saw there with the president was a moment of honesty which is, look, this government, they're not acting like an ally. we may officially with the -- with the state of egypt be an ally. but they're not acting like one right now. >> yeah. let's get to some numbers. we're going to switch gears here with the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. the president is leading in the key states of florida, ohio and virginia. you were speaking with marist polls lee maranoff yesterday and he said the numbers look like what you'd see the saturday before election day. >> he couldn't find any persuadable voters in this. you had very small slice of
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undecided. >> but 2%. >> when you're 55 days out, you're going to have 7%, 8%, 9% undecided. in this case it was 5% or less undecided. and that's what makes this rough for romney. if this is simply a bump for the president, and it settles down to where the race was before the conventions, well then you have some room to operate. the scary thing for romney is, does this bump last for the president? it's clear he got one after the convention. you know, you see it in the state polls that we had. you've seen it in some national polls. does it settle back down to where things were preconvention or is this the new normal? that's what i think the romney campaign is fearful of and we'll see over the next week, you know, bumps usually do settle down. we'll see over the next week how does this foreign policy crisis impact the polling? next week we'll get a new round of polling nationally and in the states that i think will tell us a little bit about whether this bump is sustained and what the impact is on the foreign policy crisis.
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>> but these 2% of voters who are likely voters, but have yet to make up their minds, i mean is there anything that we can expect to happen to change their minds by election day? >> well, it's interesting, one of the things i asked our marist friends to do, i combined all of the undecided vote, in all three states, so that you could get an idea of who these people were. and they don't look like voters. they don't look like people that are actually going to show up to vote. a full third of them don't have an opinion about whether the president's done a good job or a bad job. they don't have an opinion on his job approval rating. that means these are voters that aren't paying a lot of attention, they say they're registered, they say they're going to vote but they haven't tuned in. voters like that usually don't end up showing up. that's if they haven't tuned in because they don't feel invested. >> ultimately sum total of all this, is that worse news for mitt romney than it is for the president? >> well, it is. but it also, then, reinforces the idea, and there's been a debate about this, is that maybe there are no swing voters, there are not many swing vetters.
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so this really is a battle of the bases. and i can tell you this, the romney campaign has looked like a campaign that believes it's more about boosting the republican base, finding republican leaning voters to show up, rather than persuading undecided voters in the middle. where they're going in swing states, who they're appearing with, what they're talking about, it still strikes me that they think, okay, there are no persuadables in the middle let's just boost republican turnout to an all-time high. >> okay. chuck todd. good to see you as always. thank you. this program reminder, "daily rundown" with chuck todd airs every week day at 9:00 on msnbc. it's always chock full of political insights. now to the growing scandal in london over topless photos of the duchess of cambridge kate middleton. britain's royal family has begun legal action against a french magazine which published the photographs of prince william's wife.
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officials say the photographs were an invasion of the couple's privacy. duncan golestani is in london. i know that they are none too pleased about this. they've been described as being very angry. >> yeah, good morning, alex. they are furious. these photos were taken at a chateau in provence in the south of france last week. the couple were on private location on a private balcony sunbathing and as such the duchess of cambridge was only wearing bikini bottoms so she was photographed topless. this has got a furious response from the royal couple who are currently on tour in southeast asia. on their behalf, the palace put out a statement saying this was an invasion of their privacy that was grotesque and totally unjustifiable. and they then went on to say the incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the paparazzi during the night of diana, princess of wales. that reference to prince william's mother diana really indicates that those words have come from the couple themselves, that they are very angry about
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this, and that the royal family is going to do something that they rarely do, which is take a magazine, a media outlet, to court. alex? >> how about the legal challenge? i mean, what exactly are they trying to do? i mean a lot of times you have people who sue, trying to get money. is this more about making a statement? >> well, alex, france has very strict privacy laws. and most legal experts agree the couple aren't going to have a problem proving that these photographs were taken in a private setting. they're at a privately owned chateau set in 600 acres of land. so the paparazzo would have had to have used an incredibly powerful telephoto lens. so that's not the issue. the problem for the couple is fines in france tend to be very small. one as small as $40,000. so this really would only be a moral victory. >> all right, duncan golestani in london. many thanks for the live report. in just a moment, office politics. one of the nation's foremost experts on presidential politics
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visit us online to learn what makes our bank so different. in this week's office politics a talk with the director of the university of virginia senator politics i began by asking larry about the reasons why president obama is still leading in the polls, despite the weak economy. >> the economy as a whole is not necessarily bad enough to defeat a first-term incumbent. that is a critical measure that people forget. often voters will give you a pass if your party is in control of the white house for four years. they will not give you a pass on bad conditions if your party has been in charge for eight years, twelve years, and so on. think about the 20th century. only jimmy carter was thrown out of office after his party had controlled the white house for just one term. this president will set new
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standards for the influence in the economy, if, in fact, he's re-elected. because we've never had a president re-elected with unemployment this high. on the other hand, the economy is multifaceted and we tend to oversimplify what the economy actually is. so you have to look at a wide variety of measures. you can't just look at jobs. you look at the inflation rate. you look at the interest rate. you look at the housing market. whole wide range of issues. >> how about the influence of likability? how much does that matter? >> it's pretty clear from every objective indicator that we have that president obama is viewed as more likable than mitt romney. like act tends to relate to enthusiasm, which produces turnout. people have to like you to be enthused about you. and if this is a battle of the party bases, as i believe it is, then you have to like a candidate to want to work for them, to want to take the time, to interrupt your schedule to go out and vote or order an absentee ballot. so it matters.
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>> you really live, eat and breathe politics. where did that come from for you? >> well, my dad was a world war ii vet, and he really believed, because he was throughout europe during the critical years of world war ii, and he saw the effects of a lack of politics, and a lack of participation. personally, i got involved in the 1960 presidential election in a very small way. i was only seven years old. but i'm catholic, and i was in catholic school, and it was really the eighth sacrament to vote for john f. kennedy. so i remember passing out literature and going door-to-door at the age of 7, for john f. kennedy. though i have to admit, i wasn't up on the news. i actually thought there was a guy named kennedy johnson running for president. took me awhile to get clued in. >> is that, in part, what has inspired you to write the book you're working on right now about john f. kennedy? >> very much so. the kennedy years were very, very special.
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i think many of us were inspired at that time to do more, to get more active, more involved, to give more of ourselves. and the tragedy of that assassination has haunted us for decades. i still dream about it occasionally. i've never really got over it. incredibly, next year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination. and this is a moment to look at not the death of john f. kennedy, but his life and legacy through nine successors. and that's really what i do in the book is trace kennedy's words and deeds through nine successors, and through public opinion. why he still influences them. this is coming out next fall. it's called "the kennedy half century." the legacy of john f. kennedy. >> and you can't think about the kennedys without thinking about their family, and i stopped when i saw that beautiful picture you have of jackie kennedy, and her two children. tell me about that.
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>> that was a day when, of course, the john f. kennedy was commissioned. we have icons like jackie kennedy, and her two children, and that was very, very special to see them even back from a crowd. from a crowd. >> we're going to have more of our conversation today at 12:00 noon when we talk about the incredible impact presidential debates have had over the last 50 years and who might fare better this time around. in a moment perspectives on the overseas protests. you're watching "weekend with alex witt." when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership.
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u.s. embassies around the world are facing more protests today. a marine corps fast team has been sent to sudan to reinforce things there. in sydney, australia, hundreds
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of protesters clash with protection outside of the embassy. i want to ask with regard to all of this outrage, do you believe there's genuine outrage against the film or against the united states in general? >> well, it's very complex. take egypt, for instance. this is in part a competition between the groups. these are the extreme radical islamist groups who are competing with the mainstream muslim brotherhood led by president morsi. it is not really about religion. it's about raw political power and competition. you have a youthful population in egypt. they are unemployed. they are alienated. they are angry for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the united states. they are susceptible to the manipulation of these groups. you have a cynical president in egypt who wanted to let them vent their anger and direct their wrath against the american boogie man so that they will not
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focus on the miserable condition in cairo. now he realizes that he let the genie out of the bottle. now he's trying to contain the situation. his reaction really was insensitive. in fact, even appalling issuing that statement later on essentially not even mentioning what happened to the american embassy in cairo, which is really incredible. >> well then do you believe based on what you're explaining to me, do you think there will be more attacks on embassies and consulat consulates? >> i would expect, yes. this is a funny phenomenon that you might call political copy cat. there is competition against these groups to show anti-americans or anti-imperial lists or anti-west. this is really mostly a local condition, competition among the various groups. the more we talk here in this country, president obama, secretary clinton, the more we talk about religion, we are playing into their hands in many ways.
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that's what they want. >> so what can the united states do to help calm the situation and does the threat of use of force help at all in a situation like this? >> you have to use a combination of means and tools. soft power is important, persuasion is important. being tough in private conversations with these leaders is very important. that's what the president did in his telephone conversation which is mohammed morsi. at the same time, don't fall into the trap. it is not the job of the president of the united states to talk about islam beyond saying, you know, this is our constitution, these are our rights. we condemned it and that's it. let's not have that kind of conversation, and i think it should be more forceful with leaders like morsi because morsi was very cynical. the cynicism that you've seen on the part of many muslim leaders from karzai in kabul, to morsi and to other people in iran and syria speaks for itself. and we should be extremely clear
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that the united states is not going to accept this. >> well, your insights are valuable. many thanks for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> this is a wrap of this hour of "weekends with alex witt." up next is chris hayes. . >> announcer: brought to you by delta. keep climbing. look at your saturday travelers forecast. i'm meteorologist todd santos. we'll deal with a few light showers making their way through boston. early morning once you get past 10:00, it will start to clear up. d.c., 78 today. beautiful down in atlanta. dallas, may see a few light showers on and off throughout the day. could stretch the rest of the country coming in quiet. safe travels. ou stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up.
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